Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sports Genomics Part 1: SNP's

Did you know that there are between 20,000-25,000 genes in humans but there are 10 million or more SNP's?  SNP stands for single nucleotide polymorphism which, in easier terms to understand, is like a spelling error on a gene.  When a gene has a SNP on it, it alters the protein function in the body by affecting the biochemistry of the cell. 

Having a SNP on a gene can lead to some negative consequences inside the body such as increased inflammation, reactive oxygen species. For an athlete, this is a huge deal. Think about it. If you have a SNP on a group of genes that affect the body's ability to quench free radical production and inflammation, this could lead to slower recovery, decreased performance, and potential injury. 

Now, genes can be affected from inside the body and outside the body (the environment). Interestingly, certain foods can turn on and off genes and can be used therapeutically to "work around" SNP's that may be present on genes.  Which foods? Well, it's not as easy as just eating more fruits and vegetables as most Registered Dietitians recommend.  I mean, it's not a bad thing but we know that each person will have an individual "feed your genes" nutritional profile that should be followed based on their individual SNP's.  Some foods may be trigger certain pathways and biochemical cascades in one person but not another.

A key thing to remember that herbs and spices are of tremendous benefit to health and feeding your individual genes and associated SNP's. 

So, what should you do now? Think about this a bit. Sports Genomics. Let it marinate in your mind and keep following along as I will dedicate a few more blogs to this topic to help you understand more about it and some additional action items but remember, just like Metabolic Efficiency, if you don't test, you don't know. At some point, I would highly recommend getting a Genomic test done so you are more educated about you as an individual and what can help you improve your health and performance. eNRG Performance will offer Genomic testing in the near future so stay tuned.

Until next week...


Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Banana

I bet you think I am going to take this blog and explain the "good" or "bad" benefits of a banana, huh?  Nope. I was honored to attend a Sports Genomics clinic this past week in Boulder and not only did I expand my knowledge base of a very fast growing segment of the sports nutrition field, but I also had the opportunity to give a presentation to the 10 Sport Dietitians in attendance.

As I was intensely learning the first two days from three experts in the field (1 PhD, 1 MD and 1 RD who specializes in culinary genomics), I began thinking about where Metabolic Efficiency fits in. It is fairly obvious (to me at least) how my Metabolic Efficiency concept matches with sports genomics (more on that in a future blog) but I really began thinking of the testing similarities.

Genomic testing is fairly easy to have done but does require a trained eye to interpret and make recommendations. The same holds true for Metabolic Efficiency Testing. Blood work, same thing. So, I began thinking of the three tests and how they are related and if they could support one another. As my brain was filling up each day with unbelievable information regarding genomics, athletes, and nutrition, an analogy of the testing started to form. Enter the banana.

Blood work testing is certainly beneficial but what if you do not pick the right tests to measure? The interpretation may miss something. The opposite is the case with genomic and Metabolic Efficiency testing. There is almost too much data (if there is such a thing) where the nutrition practitioner must decide what is relevant for that athlete at that particular time.

Here is where the banana comes in. I have crafted the analogy of these three tests (blood work, Metabolic Efficiency and genomic) into a banana. The peel of the banana is blood work testing. Somewhat beneficial but may not provide you measurable action items and may be discarded.  In fact, many individuals do not know what to do with the blood work results that they receive from their doctor.  The fruit of the banana is Metabolic Efficiency testing. It is tangible information that will dig deeper into the fruit (body) to yield very specific information regarding substrate (carbohydrate and fat) usage. Finally, the seeds of a banana, the deepest layer of information in the fruit itself is genomic testing. It is highly individual to that particular fruit (body) and will provide information on the most microscopic level.

All three layers are important and will provide a well rounded knowledge base for any athlete but one without the other may not be as beneficial as all three together.

And there you have it.  The banana. As I digest (pun intended) the information I learned at the Sports Genomics clinic and begin to put it into practice at eNRG Performance, you will no doubt here more and more of how the testing can benefit you but also how the topic of "feeding your genes" will become part of your nutrition behavior system.

Until next week!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Sugar Cube vs. A Spoonful of Olive Oil

As you know, following a metabolically efficient lifestyle is centered on controlling blood sugar by combining the proper nutrients (protein + fiber + fat) throughout the day. It is centered on creating a healthy relationship with food, and teaching better instinctual eating cues. ME is not an exercise prescription tool, device, concept or the like. Recently, I heard ME testing being compared to the Maffetone Method but try to compare a cube of sugar to a spoonful of olive oil. Pretty difficult to find the similarities.

I developed the Metabolic Efficiency test over a decade ago, using my exercise physiology know-how. It was methodical in the structure, down to the pre-test protocol. But more importantly, the implementation of the test is what separates it from all other physiological testing. ME testing provides an individual with a snapshot of their current daily nutrition plan. It is a nutritional assessment. Can we find your heart rate, power, or pace in which you should exercise to burn more fat?  Sure. It is possible but it is not the point of the test. The goal is to tell you if your nutrition is supporting your health and performance goals. After having a Metabolic Efficiency test, you have a nutrition plan created for you that is focused on improving health and performance parameters. Simple as that.

Comparing ME testing with the MAF method is not a fair comparison. ME testing uses technology, physiological principles, and experienced professionals to interpret the data. The MAF method uses extrapolations and equations based on physiological principles. There is not measurement of physiological data.  I am not saying the MAF method is not pertinent for what it is trying to offer.  What I am saying is that, quite simply, ME testing and the MAF method cannot be compared to one another. 

It's like trying to compare a lactate threshold blood test with a Metabolic Efficiency test. The former tests fitness and provides training zones while ME testing tests nutritional status and provides the opportunity for a qualified professional to provide a nutritional plan based on the data found in the test.

Want more proof that ME testing should not be compared to the MAF method?  Here are four of eNRG Sport Dietitians data sets for ME testing and calculation of their MAF heart rate. 

What does this mean? I think it is quite clear actually. You can be quite off in using a predictive equation to determine your aerobic heart rate for training. Using a physiological measurement allows you to "peek" inside your body with more accuracy based on your current fitness level.

Metabolic Efficiency is a concept that I developed that centers on the manipulation of nutrition to impact blood sugar. I created the physiological test to validate the nutrition strategies. 

However, keep in mind that the point of this blog was to provide you the reasons why you cannot compare a sugar cube to a spoonful of olive oil. Please don't think that just because two concepts may discuss the same principles (such as improving fat burning) that they are the same. It is quite the opposite in most instances.

Until next week...


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Back at it

Hello world, it's me again! I've taken a couple of good cracks at being consistent with my blog in the past but it never worked out the way I had planned due to other work projects popping up.  However, now is the time and I am committing to writing a blog every week for the rest of 2016! These blogs will not be lengthy. They will make you ponder a few things. They will make you scratch your head. They will make you want to learn more. They will make you want to think twice about the nutrition and exercise plan you follow. They may be controversial. They may be highlighting research. One thing is for sure: each blog will include a huge splash of reality so stay tuned and enjoy the journey!

Back to Blogging

In 2003, I had a vision and after three years, I introduced it to the world. Metabolic Efficiency. Since 2006 many things have happened regarding this concept.  It has progressed from a dietary strategy to cure GI distress in endurance athletes to improving health markers, inducing safe and effective weight loss, and decreasing the need for copious simple sugars during sport competition. I have refined the testing protocols, introducing it to many different populations of athletes. I have created two levels of the Metabolic Efficiency Training Specialist certification, one for fitness and coaching professionals and one for health and medical/nutrition professionals. I have written hundreds of articles about the topic, given presentations at annual conferences and for athletes, and have written the book on Metabolic Efficiency (now in its second edition).

Even with all of these great accomplishments, there still seems to be some confusion about what Metabolic Efficiency really is. I could go on and on about how great of a concept it is but let's leave my first blog back with a bit of support by a recently published 2016 Position Statement by the American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Dietitians of Canada. This Position Statement is pretty big stuff in the world of sports nutrition so us Sport Dietitians take note of the updates.

Under the New Perspectives in Sports Nutrition, point #3 states the following:

"A key goal of training is to adapt the body to develop metabolic efficiency and flexibility while competition nutrition strategies focus on providing adequate substrate stores to meet fuel demands of the event and support cognitive function."

Look at independent research studies all you want (and I do frequently). There is always bias in them and I will highlight a few of these throughout the year. However, there is no arguing with a Position Stand from three reputable organizations. For Metabolic Efficiency to be highlighted as a new perspective in sports nutrition is both an honor to me but also a sigh of relief that proves that there are more forward thinking sports nutrition professionals such as myself.

Until next week...